On Monday, a three-judge panel in Denver federal appeals court upheld the decision of a federal judge in Wyoming to impose prison sentence on an illegal immigrant caught with firearms. The court maintained that even in the case of non-citizens who were legally within the United States there were restrictions on the possession of firearms.
The ruling noted, “Even those admitted on non-immigrant visas … are prohibited from having firearms and ammunition unless they secure a special waiver or happen to be hunters or diplomatic or law-enforcement officials here on business.”
The appeals court ruling came in the course of a matter of the conviction of one Emmanuel Hitron-Guzar, a Mexican national, who was apprehended with firearms and sentenced to 18 months in prison under a federal law that says illegal aliens cannot possess guns.
Emmanuel would be deported, but some facts that remain was that the convicted, aged 24, had come to the United States at the age of three and had grown up here from being a toddler to being a man, and had missed differentiating himself from his friends. Last year, federal agents searched his home with a warrant and found a rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol. He was subsequently arrested.
The case is expected to go on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court. Huitron-Guizar’s lawyer maintains that his client does not fall under the groups who are not meant to possess firearms like convicted felons and the mentally ill. However the court pointed out that no right is absolute and that even citizens could not carry firearms on aircrafts unless authorized.
The defendant’s lawyer also mentioned that the case was different because though of Mexican origin, Emmanuel does not even speak Spanish because he grew up in U.S. from the age of a toddler. The defendant also does not have any criminal history and has no existent ties to Mexico. Forcing him into that country is like sending him to exile.